Headphones for the Smartphone Generation
You know what your earbuds are missing? Spatialized musical imaging.
Parrot's new Zik wireless headphones, which debuted to rave reviews at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show in January, use a unique algorithm and powerful digital signal processor (DSP) to "place" music in front of the listener, instead of at either ear.
It's one of many clever features that Zik packs in. The headphones, slated for release later this year, also boast touch panel controls, advanced wireless connectivity, and rather ominous sounding bone-conduction sensors. (The latter analyze jawbone vibrations to deliver crystal-clear audio during cellphone calls.) Meanwhile, active noise-cancelling technology removes up to 25 decibels of unwanted noise, with two built-in microphones that record sounds in real time and determine--based on origin and direction--whether they're sounds you want (your music) or don't (the drone of the treadmill).
All of these high-tech enhancements are accessed via a surprisingly intuitive user interface, and for this we can thank French design guru Philippe Starck. Stack envisioned headphones for the smartphone generation, but Zik might just outsmart Siri. Take the elegant touch panel on the right earcup: Swipe your finger horizontally to change tracks, or vertically to adjust volume; if your phone rings while you're mid-track, a simple tap takes the call. Should you need to pause your music, just take the headphones off; putting them back on starts the music up again.
Perhaps smartest of all, Zik makes use of near field communication (NFC) technology--the first headphones to so. Bumping your NFC-enabled smartphone against the earcup is all it takes to pair the devices.
Try teaching your old earbuds that trick.